Blog Tags: Sharks
Ocean News: Scientists Sound Alarm Over Shark Cull Program, Fabien Cousteau Returns from Underwater Mission, and More
- An international group of 301 scientists submitted a letter to Western Australia's Environmental Protection Authority expressing concern over the controversial shark cull program, saying it could effect the ecology of the oceans. The program caught 172 sharks during its trial period this past spring. The Guardian
Sharks are often portrayed as the monsters of the deep or the villains in horror movies, famous for their menacing teeth and killer attack instincts. In real life, however, sharks have recently inspired scientists to make strides toward improving treatments for Alzheimer’s disease and multiple sclerosis.
Each year, millions of sharks are slaughtered for their fins to meet the demand for shark fin soup. Over the past few years, several U.S. states passed laws against the trade in shark fins to help shut down the market. In the recent issue of Oceana magazine, we reveal how a government agency is taking steps to undermine these bans.
You might not have heard, but sharks are in trouble from an unlikely source—our own federal government. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the government agency tasked with managing our nation’s fisheries, is taking steps to undermine state laws that protect sharks.
Because you can’t keep pulling out the same stale old facts at your Shark Week parties, we're going to hook you up with some fresh new shark facts to astound and amaze your friends and family! When we told a few of these shark facts to the basking shark in the photo below, his jaw dropped:
1. The basking shark uses its enormous mouth to filter plankton out of up to 395,000 gallons (1.5 million liters) of seawater through the huge gills that almost encircle its head
2. The curiously named cookiecutter shark is a parasite that bites circular chunks out of its prey. Holding onto its victim by suction, it twists itself around, using its razor-sharp lower teeth to bite out a cookie-shaped piece of flesh. As if that wasn’t freaky enough, the nocturnal cookiecutter shark lures its victims with glowing green bioluminescent lights on its belly.
Following Oceana’s newly released report on the harmful impacts of illegal fishing, one of the questions that I as Oceana's Northeast representative was asked most often was, “Where is this happening?” The short answer: Illegal fishing happens everywhere, from the most distant waters near Antarctica to just off the U.S. coast.
Maryland made history today by becoming the first East Coast state to ban the possession, sale and distribution of shark fins throughout the state. They join the entire West Coast, as well as Illinois and Hawaii, in banning the fin trade, which drives the cruel and unnecessary act of shark finning and is contributing to the near-extinction of many shark species.
Less than one week after passing the state Assembly, the Delaware state Senate has signed on to a bill banning the trade of shark fins within the state’s borders.
The states spanning the entire West Coast, plus Hawaii and Illinois, already have shark fin bans in place. In Maryland, a similar bill was just signed into law today by Governor Martin O'Malley, and the New York Legislature is considering a ban as well.
The gruesome practice of shark finning—slicing off a shark’s fins and throwing the body overboard, often while still alive—is illegal in the United States. But shark fin soup remains a pricey Asian delicacy, often selling for up to $100 a bowl, and fins can be imported from other countries where the practice is legal.
Yesterday, the Delaware House of Representatives took a huge step forward for shark conservation efforts worldwide when they passed a bill that would prohibit the trade of shark fins within their state borders. House Bill 41 bans the sale, possession, and distribution of shark fins, which are commonly used in the Asian delicacy shark fin soup. Demand for these products drives the harmful and wasteful practice of shark finning, which is responsible for the deaths of millions of sharks every year and the depletion of populations worldwide.
A new study published earlier this year in Marine Policy put the number of sharks slaughtered each year at 100 million, or roughly three sharks caught per second. Outraged by these shocking numbers, Joe Chernov and Robin Richards created an infographic to put the figures in perspective. While shark attacks on humans do happen (there were 12 fatal ones last year) the existential threat humans pose to the future of sharks is far graver. While there's a lot to be said about the horrors of shark finning, we'll let this graphic do the talking.
- Ocean Roundup: Rare Blue Lobster Caught in Maine, Cephalopod Skin Providing Groundwork for New Technology, and More Posted Wed, August 27, 2014
- Ocean Roundup: Vaquita Porpoise Needs Swift Protection, Atlantic Ocean behind Global Warming Slow Down, and More Posted Fri, August 22, 2014
- Oceana’s 2014 Balearic Seamount Expedition: Diaries from the Field Posted Thu, August 28, 2014
- Oceana Magazine: Tuna in Trouble Posted Mon, August 25, 2014
- CITES Listing Countdown: Less Than Three Weeks until Porbeagle Sharks are Protected Posted Wed, August 27, 2014